The Aurora Files
Not So Forgotten
There weren't always dragons in the Valley. Never in this life did we ever imagine that dragons could exist but in the Valley, they thrive. Well at least hundreds of years ago. Beasts to some and severely misunderstood creatures, dragons. They appeared as they wanted to, in many different forms. Some say they were shapeshifters. Some would say they looked like demons or even angels. The truth is that we've forgotten in a sense, and no longer possess the will to remember.
Nevertheless, there were all kinds of magical things connecting the worlds in our universe. Dragons were no different. Their magic ran deep into the roots of existence itself, before humans even existed. How did we lose our bonds with them, shunning and casting out the very members of their society that we fought alongside? Maybe they wanted it that way. Maybe humans shared common ground of course but couldn't bear losing the power and the need to control all things in the universe. Either way, these benevolent creatures of the skies became lore, fables of a time long lost... or so we thought
This world didn't always belong to them. Even though they've returned it's rather difficult to explain what dragons really are to us. Are they real or a figment of our imagination? Can they really fly higher than mountains and leap over great lengths of land, spitting hot fire and turning everything around it to brimstone? Well it's not as easy to understand. That would be like explaining the universe in just a few sentences. It can't be done, we have plenty of time however, to explain it all. This is that story.
Flooded with ruins of old villages, these surroundings had vacant gardens of wild flowers as far as the eye could see. Tainted impressions of darkened grass flow around its landscapes like a maze carved out by hand.
There were always tales in whispers of what caused such gigantic trenches throughout the fields. It was known that dragons did this with their extremely large talons that drug the ground, as they used to transport in large quantities, crates of food and medicine. We used them, in exchange for service of our own to allow passage to the caves for their protection, for their homes. They were tested for their abilities in combat and their scales were used for shields and armour as it shed from their bodies. The scales themselves were magical. No armour was greater, more powerful. The nearby residents called them "daydreamers."
Until now nobody claims to have seen any around for centuries. Villagers wrote about them throughout generations but the pages were long lost in scribble within the village's ancient libraries. Old tattered leather bound books just sat on shelves of hundreds of libraries collecting dust. Factions and seperatist parts of the armies of Nine allowed the truth about their legacy to decay. Stories of the great powers dragons possessed eventually became fiction. We turn the page of time now and find ourselves buried deep in a story, a fickle fable if you will. The people here tell many of them. She was a great warrior. She was a hero.
With clouds barreling in through a lush green landscape as far as the eyes can see the rider slung her belongings onto her horse's back. A satchel with a collection of herbs bound in twine and packed tight between the saddle and mail chain Armour sat on its broad shoulders. A very daunting task. It took a long time to gather these for her family and friends. The rider was the only doctor in her village. Nonetheless, a caregiver for those who could not help themselves in their old age.
"The skies are falling, Kara. Smell the air. We can't linger long." Not so familiar with this area the rider however was familiar with the scent of volcanic ash. It seemed no matter where you stood in her world, there it was, lingering.
Large and brawny, her horse was built muscular and very well toughened considering Its age. Her name was Kara. A gifted horse. A long lasting descendent of the Valkyries. She was indeed very important.
As the sun faded behind darkness the last of its light glistened on her coat as if made of Armour. The rider corressed Kara's neck with a gentle touch. She was a dear friend. A noble, steadfast steed. The rider knows little of where Kara came from and only how she was acquired.
Long ago, in the wars of the Nine, she was left to die by a terrible rivalry. Her great great grandfather was just a boy when he discovered a ball of light floating just above the water while fishing in Lake Gioll. He swam, out of curiosity to meet the light only to find that just below the surface was a shiny suit of Armour. He went back to his boat to retrieve the Armour. When he brought it back to shore the light floated eerily down and touched a ruby emblem. That's when he discovered her. A giant, magnificent horse appeared out of a shiny cloud and filled out the Armour. She was beautiful. Grateful for his good deed she vowed to protect him and all of his children thereafter.
"We need to find the herbs we came for. The storm looks angry. We can handle it right?" Kara lowered her head down as low as possible, stretching out front legs to do so. The rider still had to jump high to swing a boot over her neck. She and Kara spent several hours escaping the storm. Remembering the words of her father, she thinks to herself "always pick the purple Mane Flower and leave the green. They can be found far off the Valley border downstream from the Mane River. " They were a rare and scarce flower at that time.
"OH no!" She said aloud thinking of the dangers the old villagers faced with slight thought to the dangers ahead. "Have I forgotten which flower to grab? Was it purple or green?" Known for its magical healing powers, these flowers became impossible to acquire near her home village. The rider is the only doctor for a thousand miles. The sick are plenty and very much in need of her expertise.
She and her horse circled the surrounding ruined walls of grayish brick and moss covered mortar, or what was left of it anyway. It felt like they had already traveled hundreds of miles away from home. Not many people come this far into the Valley. From what she could see the sky had filled with magnificent rays of light, gleaming beautiful colors of greens, purples and blue. They were called the Aurora lights. They could be seen above every mountain top in every world so she was told.
"Kara, have you ever seen such beauty?" The rider yelled to her horse's head. She was galloping at a pace where the wind sounded like thunder in her ears. Kara listens intently and with pride for her young rider.
With the mountain's closing in, their journey continues into uncharted territory. Above all else they have what they came for, but she needed to know what exactly lurks in the mountain's belly. She wondered to herself as they glided to a perfect stop, "We should go there," pointing towards a lake, mirroring the disconcerting sky above, just beyond the calamitous ridge. Its dreadful cavern of piercing shards disguised as rocks tucked behind a waterfall. "That looks promising," she whispered sarcastically, "we can take a look and head back soon Kara. If there is something useful here I cannot pass it up." She jumped from her horse far down to the soft landing of grass. To her, it looked like there was a path ahead, gouged out by heavy footing. She was very confused and even more curiously frightened.
Inside the cave beyond the glass covered rocks there were enormous crystal structures reaching to the ceiling. She carefully made her way along the sharp cave floor, hoping to not fall, as it would bring terrible consequences. Kara stayed behind standing brilliantly in the entrance. Her large body blocking the light outside creating a silhouette of herself.
Farther and farther into the cave she wandered, making no sense of her path she started to realize the time she had lost, finding nothing. Hands guiding her upright alongside a wall there she saw a green luminescence creeping from around a dark corner just ahead of her. What she found was incredible, almost too hard to believe. A giant crystal eye glowing just enough to notice it in the pitch black of the cave. She stared in awe of its glorious appearance. Reaching out to touch it she fell, screaming. Holding on to what she thought was an emerald there it was, blinking at her.
The gem-like eye closed, black as can be. From what was left to see it moved up, and up and up. Now was the time to run.
Using no caution at all and focusing greatly to keep her footing, the rider ran as fast as she could towards the entrance of the cave's mouth. What little light was left outside in the dark of the stormy winds she saw her horse, yelling as a horse would yell. She was calling for her rider. Running, panting with every stride the rider screamed. Her voice cracked almost deminishing into a whisper. "Kara! Kara!"
Lost in the darkness of the mountain's shadow her valiant friend began to whimper and cry. Stomping around as The walls fell all around her. Crowding her every will to move and escape, Kara faded out of sight. Boulders crashed down from above shaking the earth, tearing it to shreds. The rider felt helpless. A loud shriek came like thunder and bled through cracks all around her now. The shadow moved, Rising up Straight into the sky trailing behind it a cloud of smoke cloaked with the smell of sulfur. The great shadow moved across the stars violently swirling the Aurora lights all around it. It let out a sound louder than but identical to thunder. Lightning shot out of what she thought could be the shadows' mouth, exploding the ground all around her. The rider runs and hides behind a large boulder and covers her ears from the crackle of the shadows' anger. She sat as hard as she could against the rock, kicking her feet like a fearful child. All the while still screaming, "Kara! Kara!" She never knew she could feel so afraid and yet in that moment the rider only cared about her dear friend.
Faster than it all started, everything came to a suddenly abrupt halt. The shadow was gone, as if it were never there at all. As the mountain faded into a quiet rubble the rider was left all alone, winded. Struggling to stand she yells out for her friend. She wasn't there. The dust settled to the ground, dissipating as it spread across the large and gaping wide cracks in the rocks underneath her. The smoke wading thin and she could now see through to the other side.
The rider slowly stumbled through the smog of light smoke left behind. Walking to the edge of a cliff she stared down into its dark abyss. Panting, sweating and crying she whispered in her cracking voice, "Kara, oh what have I done?" There were sounds of the crumbling rocks in the background and their echo as they fell into the void. A voice came from below, in the darkness that almost stopped her heart. A familiar voice.